A Decade Later I'm Fixing this Broken Bed

This morning I managed to find the motivation to fix our bed frame which came unhinged over the course of several jumping events performed by our children upon our bed.

Beds were made for jumping on. (Cue the Five Little Monkeys...)

However, for the past week, the mattress has been cattywampus, no doubt diminishing the quality of our sleep (though, with a 4 and 1.5 year old who don't sleep well, the perfect bed won't bring us a sleep-filled night!).

So, for a little whiel at least, the bed frame is fixed. The mattress is level.

And, as I was lifting the mattress to return it to it's mate, aka, the frame, it hit me: we've been sleeping on this bed for a decade.

Over the course of ten years, it turns out you spend a significant portion of your life on a bed. For a modest seven hours per night, that's 25,550 hours! Of course, we've traveled away from the house plenty over a ten year period, but still - so much of our lives has been played out in the humble posture of night-time shuteye. Each night we let go of control and are ushered into the chambers of restorative sleep. Sleep is a picture of the grace of God.

And so is this bed.

Ten years ago this week, Amber and I moved to the Binghampton neighborhood in Memphis, TN to join a one-year Christian Community Development residency with Service Over Self - a home repair and leadership development ministry focused on proclaiming and demonstrating the good news of God's kingdom in under-served neighborhoods of Memphis.

We drove our red, hand-me-down 2001 Buick Century and a moving truck to an address of a house we had never seen. We pulled into the driveway on Everett Ave with our parents in tow. My father-in-law was on his way to Sacramento, CA from Memphis, driving a second moving truck to Amber's brother's house where he was moving for his doctoral program at UC Davis. We were quite the entourage rollin up in Binghampton!

Binghampton had a history stained by the effects of cyclical poverty, drugs, white flight, racism, marginalization, deteriorating housing stock and transportation-induced isolation. We didn't know our street, nor the house we would be living in, so as a young couple moving to the "inner city" (or that's how we thought about it at the time coming from small town Illinois), we were a bit anxious as our parents brought up the rear of our caravan.

It turns out that our house on Everett St. was a beautiful, quaint house, well-renovated by the Binghampton Development Corporation and then owned and maintained by Service Over Self for the sake of their annual residency interns moving into "the neighborhood." This house became our home that year as we learned to navigate marriage and community in a new city and new culture.

We brought all of our earthly possessions with us, having left only a few things back in Champaign, IL in the basement of our friend's house. One thing we did not have, though, was a bed because our previous - and first - apartment in Champaign was a furnished apartment.

So, here we are in new city, a new house, a fairly new couple - with no bed! Some of the locals - Eric, Robert, Steve - arrive quickly to welcome us to our new neighborhood. But, what's this? Here comes a new friend in his pickup truck with a special delivery only moments after we've arrived at our new address. John shows up with a queen bed for us - donated by a friend of the ministry.

So, here we are - a decade later and three children later - jumping on, sleeping on and repairing this broken, used, grace-filled bed.

"I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me."
Psalm 3:5


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